Morningstar has rolled out a new service to help retirement fund managers better research and assess the managers of mutual funds.

Morningstar Manager Research Services will include the firm’s fund research reports, ratings and access to Morningstar’s manager research analysts.

“We’ve provided analyst access on the equity research side of the house for several years, and firms began asking to talk to our manager research analyst team as well,” said Kunal Kapoor, head of global information products for Morningstar.

Morningstar has more than 110 manager research analysts in 15 markets that not only rate and cover funds, but also specialize in analyzing the managers and the firms behind the funds.

Having access to managers’ track records can be particularly useful when fund companies change managers.

History has proven that some fund managers have an inordinate influence over a fund’s performance. The Fidelity Magellan Fund, overseen by famed manager Peter Lynch until 1990, had a 13-year run of returning 29 percent annually. Lynch’s reputation eventually helped grow the fund’s assets to $100 billion. Upon Lynch’s departure, the Magellan Fund began to go through a series of new managers, ultimately losing assets and much of its reputation as a king of the fund world.

Morningstar Manager Research Services will include access to analysts of managers by phone, or in person, and research on up to 4,000 funds managed globally. 

The rating agency’s existing Analyst Rating services will be included in the new package.

“Having direct access to our manager research analysts can help institutions with their research due diligence, an important part of the process of selecting investments and creating portfolios that deliver better outcomes for investors,” said Kapoor.